CMBC announces update about Union Sets

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

CMBC and Thornbridge Brewery collaboration on Union Sets

Related tags Beer Cask ale

Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) and Thornbridge have teamed up to establish a Burton Union System at Thornbridge’s Riverside brewery in Bakewell, Derbyshire using Union Sets from Marston’s Brewery.

CMBC announced in January it was retiring the four remaining Union Sets​ at Marston’s Brewery in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire because using them as fermentation vessels was no longer viable. The Union Sets were first developed​ in the Victorian era.

Discussions between CMBC and Thornbridge started in February this year in a bid to provide a new future for the sets.

CMBC gifted the Union barrels to Thornbridge and has provided guidance and advice on maintenance and set up.

The system development at Thornbridge’s Bakewell-based brewery is due to be completed this month (May).

Perfect showcase

The Union Sets will be used for brewing special edition cask beer, utilising this historic method.

CMBC director of brewing Emma Gilleland said: “This collaboration is a perfect showcase for the ways brewers can come together to deliver something special, for the love of beer and Britain’s incredible brewing heritage.

“We’ve been proud to support Thornbridge through the process by sharing our time and expertise to help set up its own Union System and we are confident they will be fantastic custodians for our union sets.”

Thornbridge Brewery head brewer Rob Lovatt said the project was a dream come true for the business.

Beautiful icons

He added: “We’re grateful to CMBC for its generosity in giving these Union Sets to us to brew with going forward.

“While there are challenges yet to get the system up and running, we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to preserve these beautiful icons of British brewing.

“Every process, detail and recipe change in a Union System has an effect on the beer’s flavour and I’m excited to see what we can create with the new system here in Bakewell.”

It had been a huge privilege to care and maintain the sets at Marston’s Brewery, according to Mark Newton, cooper at the Burton brewery.

“I’m so pleased to have been part of the CMBC team working with Thornbridge to help them prepare for setting up their own Union System,” he added.

“It’s heartening to know that alongside the set we are preserving at our brewery, our Union Sets will have a new home with the brilliant brewers at Thornbridge.”

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